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Greek kiwis growing in importance

For Greek growers, the production of kiwifruit is increasing in importance. The export company Chatzidakis has replaced its cultivation of apples with kiwis in the last couple of years.

“The kiwi season has already finished and we’re currently working with stonefruit like nectarines and peaches. This year saw a lot of demand for kiwis, which ended our export season sooner than we were expecting. However, we’re able to lengthen our supply window by keeping kiwis in storage until July. We’re able to export kiwis for ten months per year,” explains Nikolas of Chatzidakis.

In order to extend it season, the company has invested about €1.5 million in new technology, such as cooling facilities and storage rooms with controlled atmosphere. “We started working with this technology last year. The current year had a diminished production, so we were only able to stock a small amount of kiwis for the local market.”
The main benefits of extending the seasons, is that it allows Chatzidakis to supply kiwis in time frames, when global markets are lacking in supply. “We try to start selling our produce in February and March, as there is less competition on those months. Our profit margins have been really good and our customers are happy as well. If there are hundreds of competitors around, it doesn’t matter how good your quality is, it will still be all the more challenging."

The main export markets for Chatzidakis are the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The company is trying to open new markets for kiwifruit in Western Europe, Scandinavia and Asian countries like Taiwan. While the company does supply to the local market, Chatzidakis main objective is to export the majority of its produce.
“Last year we sent a few containers to Asian markets. We try to explore new markets. We investigate to see how they work with regards to packaging and sizes, in order to determine where we want to focus our efforts. Greece has an advantage against other producing countries like Italy and Spain due to our location. Transit times to eastern markets are shorter when you’re based in Greece and we try to take advantage of this.”

Though kiwifruit is traditionally seen as a winter fruit, Chatzidakis does take care to supply kiwis on the domestic market during the summer. “If we didn’t supply kiwis during summer, the Greek market would be taken over by New Zealand kiwis.”

The company has had some success in Spain. “We’ve managed to have a good pilot year and we’ve established a foothold in the Spanish market,” says Nikolas. “We also found a strong customer for the eastern markets. We’ve started supplying kiwis and we’re currently exporting stonefruit like nectarines to this customer as well.”

“We’ll see what we’ll do next year,” says Nikolas. “Every year is different from the last one. You need to keep an open mind for what fruit works best for what country. For instance, Italy had big problems with its supply of kiwis, which changed the market. Our biggest concern is to have good conditions for the next season,” says Nikolas in conclusion.

For more information:

Nikolas Kotsifos
Chatsidakis SA
Mob: 00306944967278
Email: sales@chatzidakis-ltd.gr

Publication date: 6/19/2017
Author: Yzza Ibrahim
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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